BARCELONA: Brazil football star Neymar Jr told a court on Tuesday he did not participate in negotiations over his transfer to “childhood dream” club Barcelona from Santos in 2013, but had signed what his father had told him to.
Along with Neymar, 30, eight other defendants are on trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer, including his parents, representatives of the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing.
“I didn’t participate in the negotiations. My father always took care of it and always will. I sign everything he tells me to sign,” Neymar told the court in Barcelona in his first testimony in the trial that began on Monday.
The case centres on an allegation made by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40% of the rights to Neymar when he was at Brazil’s Santos, that it lost out on its rightful cut from the transfer because the value of the deal was understated.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison term and a 10 million euro fine for Neymar. They are also seeking a five-year jail term for Rosell and an 8.4m euro fine for Barcelona.
None of the defendants who are representatives or former figures at the clubs have yet given their evidence. Neymar and his parents had the right not to testify but decided to do so, answering questions only from the prosecutor and from their own layers.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, appearing as a witness via videolink, told the court his club had made offers of 45m euros in 2011 and 36m in 2013 to sign Neymar but the player chose to join Barcelona instead.
Law firm Baker McKenzie, which is defending Neymar and his family has said in a statement it will argue that the Spanish courts lack jurisdiction because the transfer involved a Brazilian national in Brazil.
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2022
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